NBA Power Rankings December 5th, 2012

There’s a new sheriff in town, led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Oklahoma City Thunder take over the top spot after a perfect 4-0 record this week. The Spurs had one mishap, albeit with four of their best players resting at home.

We update the power rankings every Wednesday, so make sure to continue checking back.

Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. (4) Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4) – Durant shooting 53.4/50.0/91.0 in last 10 games. Wow. Five-game homestand on tap.

2. (2) San Antonio Spurs (14-4) – Coach Pop spat on the fans in Miami, but the team is still tremendous.

3. (1) Memphis Grizzlies (13-3) – A tough loss to the Spurs and one they should have lost to the Suns. Minor panic time?

4. (3) Miami Heat (12-4) – They can’t keep playing one solid quarter per game. Came back to bite them against lowly Washington Wizards.

5. (6) New York Knicks (12-4) – The defense is coming back and Melo’s minutes are coming down. Both great signs.

6. (5) Brooklyn Nets (11-6) – Losing to last year’s finals participants no big deal. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson shooting 39% and 41% is.

7. (7) Los Angeles Clippers (11-6) – As much as we like Jamal Crawford, there’s enough talent that  a starter should lead the team in scoring.

8. (8) Atlanta Hawks (9-5) – Rebounding and free-throws are a big problem and will just intensify come playoff time.

9. (9) Denver Nuggets (9-9) – The road hasn’t been kind and they’ve got a long trip ahead. Ty Lawson needs to come around now.

10. (14) Chicago Bulls (8-8) – An 80-76 loss to Indiana showcased the need for Derrick Rose to return. He’s coming soon.

11. (15) Golden State Warriors (10-7) – Stephen Curry has risen and is back to being a star, but how do they lose at home to Orlando?

12. (16) Minnesota Timberwolves (8-8) – Ricky Rubio is practicing and awaiting his return. Impressive thumping of the 76ers on the road Tuesday.

13. (17) Houston Rockets (9-8) – They’re tremendous at home, including holding off the Lakers Tuesday. Could Jeremy Lin be benched soon?

14. (11) Boston Celtics (9-8) – Rajon Rondo is the heart of the team but he’s too flawed as a leader. This team needs more focus.

15. (10) Philadelphia 76ers (10-8) – Jrue Holiday has been great, but no consistency elsewhere hurts. Thad Young leads team with 7.4 rebounds? Ick.

16. (13) Los Angeles Lakers (8-10) – Steve Nash won’t help Dwight Howard make free-throws. He also won’t help Kobe Bryant rotate better on defense.

17. (12) Miwaukee Bucks (8-8) – We can’t believe in the Bucks at this point. They depend too heavily on Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Not exactly models of consistency.

18. (19) Indiana Pacers (9-9) – They’re coming around with Paul George leading the way. Defense is awesome and Roy Hibbert is waking up.

19. (18) Utah Jazz (9-10) – Getting closer to the inevitable Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap trade. Derrick Favors having a plantar fascia injury might change things.

20. (24) Orlando Magic (7-10) – Very impressive wins at Golden State and Los Angeles. Jacque Vaughn getting lots of credit, but what about J.J. Redick?

21. (22) Dallas Mavericks (8-9) – For a team with so much individual talent, they aren’t very good. No legitimate second scorer hurts. Get well soon, Dirk.

22. (23) Portland Trail Blazers (8-10) – Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge are doing their thing, but seriously – can you name one bench player?

23. (21) Charlotte Bobcats (7-9) – Regression to the mean can’t be avoided. Ben Gordon leads the team in PER. Really?

24. (20) Phoenix Suns (7-12) – Trying to put square pegs in round holes. Michael Beasley isn’t a quality player. Shannon Brown is well worth his contract.

25. (26) Detroit Pistons (6-13) – Awesome at home, terrible on the road. How can they be so bad? Do they love to party or something?

26. (25) New Orleans Hornets (5-11) – Please tell us it’s a dream that the Hornets are changing their name to the Pelicans. Do Pelicans have unibrows?

27. (28) Toronto Raptors (4-14) – Remember when we thought the Raptors were going to be good this year? Seems like a decade ago.

28. (29) Cleveland Cavaliers (4-14) – Anderson Varejao takes rebounding personally and we love it. Get Kyrie Irving healthy and they are decent.

29. (27) Sacramento Kings (4-12) – Dysfunctional, not that talented and missing a hungry and aggressive DeMarcus Cousins.

30. (30) Washington Wizards (2-13) – They’ve beat the Heat three consecutive times, so, they’ve got that going for them. Is John Wall still alive?

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Monday – NBA Awards Watch
Wednesday – NBA Power Rankings
Friday – NBA Stat Central
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